Swarming around the catch
From the deep waters
Busy working with the samples
Date:June 9, 2004
Author: Uwe Piatkowski, IFM-GEOMAR, University of Kiel, and Mikko Heino, IMR
After days of steaming and expectations rising hour by hour, we finally reached our first station during the early mornings hours. Station work was started by lowering an echosounder to a thousand metres depth. This provided an estimate of acoustic biomass densities in deeper waters which the vessels hull-mounted echosounder does not reach.
The following highlight was our first haul with a large pelagic trawl. We sampled three layers starting close to the bottom, which was at 2200 metres, and further to the surface. After nearly four hours of fishing, the trawl was safely brought back, attracting nearly all cruise participants to the trawl deck. The excitement was great when opening the trawls codends and exploring the catch. The deepest layer up to 1500 metres, stored in a special aquarium codend, yielded a typical bathypelagic fauna dominated by deep sea smelts (Bathylagus euryops), deep-sea eels such as the sawtoothed eel (Serrivomer beanii) and red-coloured deep-water prawns as well as deep-sea jellyfish of genus Atolla. The middle layer (300-900 m) was dominated by lantern fishes, and the uppermost layer (200 m) by Atlantic pearlside (Maurolicus muelleri). The catch will keep the scientists in the fish lab busy the whole night.